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How do you handle angry patients?

Answer examples and advice for how to answer this interview question for an Addiction Counselor interview

How to Answer
At one point or another, it is likely that a patient will get angry or upset with you. As you know, it probably has nothing to do with you. Perhaps you are close to a breakthrough and your patient is feeling vulnerable. Alternately, maybe they are detoxing or coming down. Give an example of something you would say to your patient in this situation.

"If I have a patient displaying feelings of anger towards me, I ask questions to understand where the patient is coming from. 'Why do you think that upset you? Does it remind you of a past experience?' I want to direct them towards the root of the problem, but also allow them to feel what they are feeling."
Entry Level
"If I have a session that gets a l little intense I'm sure to notify my leadership so they can take measures to ensure the situation does not escalate. In the session, I will take a step back and ask them if they are feeling comfortable. If they are not, I will take a step back and let them simmer on their feelings for a moment."
"I handle angry patients like a pro! I've been an addictions counselor for the past 12 years and have had my fair share of experiences. Generally, if a patient blows up with no warning, it means that I have hit the right spot. The emotional spot where they need to go in order to continue great progress."

View user-submitted Answers

How do you handle angry patients?
First of all, will not fall down to their level. Politely I will try to calm them down and try to help out with any issue I can help with.
By validating their concerns and if possible providing solutions and or time out.
First I work at understanding why they are angry. I want to acknowledge those feelings and give space for them. Anger can be productive and helpful. I think it is important not to be afraid of it.
Let them be and not engage until the situation has de-escalated.
I try to descalate the situation, or difuse it, by speaking to the patient and giving them choices, based on their behavior.
I have never been in that situation, but I would try to calm them down and then attempt to see what is aggravating them.
Calm and straightforward.
Try to diffuse the situation, by being calm my self.
I just relax, listen careful, and wait until he/she express or display their anger.
By allowing them the time to deescalate and still be there for them when they are ready to open up.
I try to calm them down and de-escalate the situation. Afterwards, we discuss what happened and next steps.
We go through breathing excursus.
By allowing them to express themselves, in helping them to speak openly in order for them to calm down.
I am a rather calm person, so when a client gets angry I will hear them out. If it were to get to the point that I began the anger was geared toward myself, I would assert myself and let the client know that their behaviour is becoming inappropriate. If the client were to persist, I would remove myself from the situation by either asking the client to leave or leaving the room myself. I would alert a supervisor or anyone in the surrounding area that there is violent client in order to provide the best safety for everyone.
Try to deescaluate the matter, make sure the environment around me is safe.
Using anger reduction training skills Breathing Identifying objects journaling exercise.
I roll with their resistance. Telling people to calm down usually does not lead them to relax. I let them sit in their feelings and talk it out. It is okay to be angry as long as it is worked through in a professional and healthy manner where no one is harmed.
1. I would ask them to take a moment and breathe so that they can tell me what is upsetting them; 2. Help them understand the advantages and disadvantages of their angry and how its impacting their recovery 3. Discuss past angry issues and what were the results then have them look at the advantage of thinking and talking things through first before letting angry take over. 4. Encourage them to walk away for a minute and then discuss the issues that caused them to be angry 5. Encourage angry management training.
I would roll with their resistance.
Listening to their frustrations, staying calm, and finding resolutions.
Finding a way for them to calm down and bringing them to a quite space, where they can vent or talk about what is bothering them.
I roll with the resistance, use positive affirmations and try to see things from their perspective.
Empathy reflective listening. Meeting the client where they are.
I focus on their strengths and not their weaknesses. I empathize with their anger.
I handle angry people by first figuring out the reasons why they are angry. I have learned that when I agree with people it tends to diffuse their anger because the feel as though they have an ally who is on their side.
I just smile at them, and I continue to respect them.
Patience and honesty. An angry person will often project their anger onto those around them. It is difficult to project that anger out when the other person is consistent in their message, honest, agrees with challenges/validates feelings, resolution based.
Keeping calm. Ensuring them I want to help any way that I can and that they will allow.
Let them say what they need to say and give them space for my safety as well as their own and then talk once they have settled.
Calm voice and not being combative.
Calmy, rationally and with boundaries.
I use empathy and reflective listening, rephrasing and trying to descalate the situation this way.
I would politely try to calm them down and assure them that I am here to help them.
I let them cool down and listen.
I get one on one with that client. I try to understand their anger and why they are putting up a wall.
I use the technique called motivational interviewing. It changes the tone of the situation. Some questions that I ask are What would you like to see different about your current situation? What will happen if you don't change? What would be the outcome if you change your behavior and complete your program?
I do not like it, I shut down at first then try to redirect thief anger to a positive force.
The same way I would anyone else, with professionalism and empathy.
With patience. Time and space.
By keeping my voice soft and low, listening and reflecting the emotion.
Helping them to identify triggers sees slating using calming strategies.
To remain calm, listen to them.
Keep asking them questions and talking to them.
First I would make sure I'm not trapped in a room with no exit plan. Then I would ask what they need to help them calm down. I would ask what is causing their anger and what can I do to assist.
By staying calm, keeping my voice level and holding their eye contact.
I try to understand but also defuse the situation.
Asking questions, keeping calm.
I handle angry patients by speaking in a warm tone of voice, and repeating back to the patient what they communicated to me.
No confrontation, backing away and allowing the clt to have space.

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